Are Ashkenazi Jews mixed with German blood

Live Jewish: Genetically Jewish?

Anyone who is on the Internet and often Googles for content with a Jewish connection will see them again and again: advertisements from private providers of genetic tests, which break down their own origin. A saliva sample is used to determine where the ancestors come from; the information is given in percent. The most likely result: a colorful mixture, perhaps ancestors came from today's Scandinavia, others from Central Europe. However, it is also shown, for example, that one percentage point is an Ashkenazi Jew or even whether a man is a Cohen. Exactly this aspect is faded in when one, see at the beginning, is often looking for topics related to Judaism.

And so the question arises: Is there a Jewish gene? And does that not mean that you are closely following the racial doctrine of the National Socialists? It is a thought that is not at all comfortable. But no, there is no such thing as a Jewish gene. Rather, the test can identify haplogroups. In these, people with the same or similar DNA characteristics are grouped together, making it possible to allocate their geographical origin. Some haplogroups indicate a Jewish-Ashkenazi or Jewish-Sephardic origin. This can be explained by the fact that the Jewish population stayed among themselves and that there is such a great deal of similarity in terms of DNA characteristics.

Of course, there are also Jews for whom such a test would not reveal any Jewish origin. Who, for example, was adopted or if ancestors converted to Judaism, there is no evidence in the DNA of Jewish ancestors centuries ago. Because you can not only be Jewish by birth, you can also convert to Judaism. Rabbis also do not recognize the results of such genetic tests. Here, as it has always been the case: According to Halacha, Jewish law, anyone who was born of a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism is Jewish.

The thing about the percentages

With this conception, the evaluation of percentages is also omitted. The half and quarter Jews are Nazi diction, although the terms are still used without reflection to this day. Judaism only knows whole Jews. Either you are Jewish or you are not. That - see last week's entry - hurts many a Jewish father who has children with a non-Jewish partner. But that also hurts so many children from such a relationship, who feel caught between all stools because they have an inheritance (and not infrequently also a history of persecution) with them, but are not recognized by the Jewish community.

The fact that a genetic test instead of an elaborate transition procedure in which the prospective parishioner has to show that he or she will live according to the demanding rules of Judaism (from kosher household to keeping the Shabbat) declares that someone is now a Jew therefore do not differ. In addition, experts emphasize that the percentages given are statistical in nature. So it should not even be said whether the result that is spat out actually depicts the origin of the respective individual exactly.

The curiosity is still great. Isn't it tempting to take some saliva from your inner cheek with a cotton swab, put it in a plastic tube, send it off and, after a few weeks, receive mail that documents your origin? Theoretically, such a test would have to identify 50 percent of my Ashkenazi ancestors, the rest would probably be less predictable. But what if other haplogroups on the Jewish side had also sneaked in?

Everyone is a mix

Yes, of course, I've already thought of doing such an origin analysis, but in the end I left it. Because what insights would actually result from this? In the end, the following applies to everyone: There is no clear group membership (to avoid the word race), each of us is a mixture.

At a time when what separates people all over the world are so fond of what they have in common, that is actually good news. Because it shows that people have always migrated, that people from different groups have always found each other, that there are largely (largely because there are also indigenous peoples) no closed peoples, nations, societies. If everyone were to let this into their consciousness, then perhaps there would not be the fear of the stranger and the strong need among so many to belong to a clearly defined group.

And maybe there would be the realization that every person in his life can to a certain extent also freely choose to which group he feels he belongs. You can decide to continue or break with the traditions of your parents, to stay connected to your home country or to go far away, to marry a partner with a similar socialization or to go through life with a person who is completely different Culture area grew up. This also applies to the way in which one lives one's Judaism.